Wondering how to choose a new foot doctor? If you are currently experiencing problems with one or both of your feet, then finding a local podiatrist who can diagnose and treat your foot problems is your next step. A podiatrist is a medical professional who also knows how to treat problems related to the ankle…
Do Arch Supports Help with Flat Feet?
Flat feet, also known as fallen arches, are common. Many people with flat feet go about their lives fairly oblivious to the fact that they have flat feet. But many others are affected by their flat feet, to varying degrees.
Some put up with slight discomfort when they walk or run for a long time. Others are severely affected by their lack of arches — to the point of changing their gait or keeping their movements to a minimum.
Arch support is a common way of dealing with flat feet. The question is, does it really work? Also, why do flat feet happen in the first place?
What are flat feet?
The inner sides of most feet have an upward curve between the heel and the ball of the foot so that when the foot is on the ground, the upward curve or arch should be off the ground.
People with flat feet do not have these arches. When they put their feet on the ground, the inner side of the foot is as flat as the outer side.
Causes of flat feet
For most people, flat feet are not a symptom of an illness. They can be a hereditary trait. If such feet cause zero problems, then there is no need to do anything about them.
In fact, really young children tend to have flat feet. For most of them, the flat feet go away as the connective tissue of the feet gets tauter.
That said, flat feet can be as a result of the following: Congenital deformities of the feet, stretching of connective tissues due to overweight, injury or aging, or medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
These kinds of flat feet will almost always cause discomfort, at the very least. Arch support is meant to help anyone suffering from uncomfortable symptoms of flat feet.
How does arch support help with flat feet?
Good arch support will hold up and cushion the feet at multiple points. Footwear with arch support will:
- Support the heel and provide extra padding to the fatty tissue surrounding the heel bone
- Cushion and support the back of the foot, where the sheet of muscle that connects the heel bone to the toes begins. This area is the rear end of the arch
- Cushion and support the front part of the arch. Good arch support holds up both the front and rear parts of the arch. This way, a person will distribute their weight evenly along the arch
- Be firm, but not too firm. Arch support needs to be firm enough to support the foot and hold up under a person's weight. But arch support that is too hard and unyielding can stress muscles and soft tissues in the foot
- Be soft, but not too soft. Arch support that collapses under a person's weight is of no use. It might actually do more harm than good
Arch support that has the above qualities will provide comfort and support. It will distribute a person's weight in order to improve their gait. The continued use of arch support will also get rid of any secondary pain in the knees, ankles and hips.
How effective is it?
Arch support will not change the shape of the feet, but it will keep a person comfortable as they move. However, if the flat feet are caused by an underlying medical issue, then medical intervention is the only permanent treatment — especially if the flat feet cause severe pain and limited mobility.
Other ways to manage flat feet
In addition to arch support, a person can deal with their flat feet by performing stretching exercises like toe lifts, which are easy to do while seated. Rolling a golf ball over the area between the heel and the ball of the foot and physiotherapy with a foot specialist can both be helpful in managing pain from flat feet.
When a flat foot is caused by a serious problem like injury, medical treatments like surgery may be an option.
Find out more about your flat feet
If your flat feet are occupying space in your mind, then we invite you to contact our office so we can help. Our podiatrist will be happy to examine you and answer all your questions. They will advise you on how you can manage your flat feet in the best way possible.
Request an appointment here: https://www.pocatellopodiatry.com or call Ambulatory Foot & Ankle Clinic at (208) 803-0010 for an appointment in our Pocatello office.
Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Flat Feet in Pocatello, ID.
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